It’s hard not to be excited about Blizzard at the moment. News about their popular titles is coming thick and fast. World of Warcraft players will have the Warlords of Draenor expansion this fall, and the addictive Hearthstone will have its own single-player expansion launching on July 22. That’s without even touching on the rumored new MMO, potentially set to be unveiled at BlizzCon 2014.
Somewhere in the midst of all these exciting titles sits Heroes of the Storm, currently still in alpha. Blizzard calls it a “hero brawler” — although there are striking similarities to the MOBA genre. Heroes of the Storm allows players to take control of characters from the Diablo, Warcraft and Starcraft franchises to try and defeat the opposing side in fierce battles. Blizzard hopes to separate their free-to-play hero brawler from the pack, and one of the ways they are trying to do this is with interesting and unique battlegrounds.
Over at the Battle.net blog, Senior Technical Designer Meng Song gave insights into the latest arena to be revealed — the mysterious Garden of Terror. The map is a three-lane battleground and boasts a very interesting dynamic: a day/night cycle that is controlled by the players. During the night cycle, players will have their visibility limited, and will have to be wary of creatures known as Night Terrors. The day cycle will not resume until all the Night Terrors have been defeated.
One of the selling points of Heroes of the Storm is that Blizzard is attempting to vary the tactical approach players can take in each map, and the Garden of Terror is no different. The ability for players to switch from night to day is bound to lead to some real tactical choices — when will it be good to preoccupy the other team with Night Terrors and strike?
Not only that, but after collecting 100 seeds in the Garden of Terror, players will have the chance to unleash and control the Garden Terror, a creature with masses of health and power, and a wealth of special abilities, including an Overgrowth ability that disables and damages all enemy buildings. Players who become the Garden Terror will, however, have to contend with a time limit — so use that advantage effectively.
Heroes of the Storm may not be making the waves of other news from Blizzard, such as the departure of Creative Officer Rob Pardo and the imminent release of Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition, but there is plenty of potential for it to be a useful addition to the world of MOBA titles. Let’s see if it can compete with the likes of League of Legends and Dota 2.
Heroes of the Storm is currently in alpha. Players can sign up to the beta over at Battle.net.